SEO or Online Community Business Seminar – May 25th, 9AM CST
Joe Skibbie of JRS Marketing Communications will present the basics of Search Engine Optimzation (SEO) for Small Businesses, making sure your business can be found online and strengthening it’s presence. In this course, one can expect to learn about the importance of mobile responsive website design and it’s link to being listed in search results. Also expect to learn about Social Media’s growing importance and connection with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your website needs to convert visitor traffic into customers. What key elements are needed to do this? We’ll also discuss how to track and analyze how well your website and social media tools are working.
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There’s no escaping that SEO must be part of your business’s digital marketing plan. Achieving a top ranking in search engine results is like finding the Holy Grail for many digital marketers. Given all the updates and the increasing sophistication of search engines (and searchers), your business and your content need to be relevant to what your audience is searching for. Nailing this often requires diving deep into your SEO to figure out what is working and what’s not.
There’s an additional layer to consider now, especially when so many buyers are searching online even for products and services they would otherwise shop for in person. This is local SEO. Understanding and optimizing your local SEO can help your business stand out. Let’s get familiar with the details.
What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is “the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (also known as “organic”) search engine results.” Or, more simply, it is getting the right people connected to your digital content. A lot of SEO involves determining what people are looking for online and ensuring content that satisfies that particular query is found on your web pages.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is about ranking more highly in your particular geographic area for search queries related to your products or services. When more people are trying to reach you online than offline, local SEO matters more than ever to your business.
Local SEO can be competitive, depending on what your competitor businesses are doing with their digital marketing and SEO strategy. And yet local SEO is a highly effective way to boost website traffic and convert visitors to buyers. Consider these insights from a recent report:
- 97% of people learn about a local company from online searches
- 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information
- “Where to buy” and “near me” search queries have increased 900% in the last few years
- 88% of searchers looking for a local business call or visit that business within 24 hours
- 72% of buyers who did a local search visited a business within five miles
Clearly, local SEO is a powerful tool in a business’ digital marketing strategy. Considering that online shopping and research are certainly here to stay, it’s more important than ever to ensure your business is building an optimized SEO strategy that includes a focus on local SEO.
Schedule an SEO Audit
Where should you start? First, you need to ensure that you’re showing up where searchers are looking, and that your content is relevant to their needs. This is important in both national and local searches.
To understand what’s attractive about your content to the web crawlers, you need to thoroughly examine what you are presenting. See where your content ranks among competitors in a search, learn where links to your site exist elsewhere on the web, and discover any gaping holes in your website where better SEO practices could be used.
In doing a thorough audit, all keywords will be analyzed and assigned a value, according to words the web crawlers are finding that users are entering and set against how many other pages also contain those keywords. You will see value increase or decrease when paired with related words as well.
An audit will also tell you how relevant your content is and if it is of good quality. Google doesn’t penalize bad grammar and spelling, but they do notice if people don’t seem to trust your website because of it. You also want to make sure you’re providing information that really helps your potential buyers and isn’t just page fillers for the sake of cramming keywords.
Understanding which keyword terms are driving the most traffic can also help you ensure that you are investing your time and resources into editing and creating the most relevant and high-quality content on your website and blog.
Why Do an SEO Audit?
Research has found that sites listed on the first page of results from a search have a CTR (click-through rate) of over 70%, but beyond that the results drop significantly to about 6% on the second and third page of results. So, no matter how similar your content is to the person searching for it, it’s possible that only 6% of potential customers are even clicking on your link. Your goal needs to be to hit that first page of results.
Considering that you will probably see from three to five organic links on that first page, your competition window has shrunk. A deep dive will analyze your SEO from the perspective of the crawlers to see how you rank compared to other sites. Your job after that will be to find ways to improve search engine optimization on your site.
What can be done to improve SEO?
This is where things could get even trickier. You may have been able to identify your effective keywords in a search, but can you determine exactly how effective they are? Do your keywords and search phrases take into account the ways your buyers might conduct a search?
Other aspects of your website can also be addressed, including the site loading speed. A slow website can discourage visitors, which then alerts Google that your site may not be of good enough quality to rank well in the search results. This is why usability and the mobile friendliness of your site always needs to be a priority in your overall digital marketing strategy.
Smaller but no less important fixes include titles and meta data for all images and video on your site. Finally, consider giving Google fresh content with relevant keywords and search phrases on a regular basis, such as through a blog or new landing pages. Google loves fresh content, and the more pages your site has, the more likely it will be indexed.
Can SEO be improved without intervention? Sure. But to make dramatic improvements and really reach more people, you are going to need to dive deep. Talk to your consultant from JRS Mar/Com to find out what they can do for you.
Understanding and boosting local SEO
When it comes to improving local SEO, where should you focus? First, it’s easiest to optimize your local SEO if you have a proper address in your geographic area. When you do, you can create local landing pages and make it easy for customers to find your business (using a widget or a store locator, for example).
What if you have a service area that goes beyond your location in a particular city? If you’re not physically located in this area but want to rank in local searches, the best way to accomplish this is to focus on writing and optimizing content for this area.
There are other considerations for local SEO, including optimizing your business’s Google My Business profile and understanding the Google Local 3-Pack, which is the method that Google uses to display the top three results for local search engine results pages.
Improving your local SEO—and your SEO strategy in general—can help to boost your business this year and beyond. Looking for help? Reach out to us to get started.